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Deal with Europe will lead to Dominican-Haiti trade pact in 1 year, official says

Dominican Today

Deal with Europe will lead to Dominican-Haiti trade pact in 1 year, official says

22 February 2008

SANTO DOMINGO.- The Economic Association Agreement between Cariforum and European Union (EPA) countries will lead Dominican Republic and Haiti to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement in one year, said Industry and Commerce minister Melanio Paredes, during the Business Table organized by magazine The Economist.

The official, citing the most transcendental aspects of the DR-CAFTA and EPA Free Trade agreements, said the latter “contributes to institutionalize and bolster the important cross-border trade with our neighbors.”

He said the government’s challenge is to open to free competition and the reality it implies. "Technological readjustment and innovation, mainly in the agricultural sector has to increase the added value to our products, for which we must identify specialized markets, at the same time we become involved in funding programs which favor their capacities and competitiveness."

In response to a question about the government’s work for the country to reach economic development agreements with the demands of open economies, the officials said a new customs regime is being discussed this very week regarding industrial training. “But, I insist, the effort to obtain the country-competitiveness doesn’t mean simply tax exceptions or incentives, we needed public and private alliances in proactive policies, organizing trade missions and developing market intelligence."

Regarding the first year since the DR-CAFTA trade deal took effect, Paredes said it has been a transition period where “patches” have been necessary, “because it’s not only commerce, it’s also the cultural, which doesn’t change from one day to another.